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Game overview & term project tips 권태경 Fall, 2006 What is game? Homo Ludens Johan Huizinga, Dutch historian Dictionary Webster, activity engaged in for diversion or amusement

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Game overview& term project tips


Fall, 2006

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What is game?

  • Homo Ludens

    • Johan Huizinga, Dutch historian

  • Dictionary

    • Webster, activity engaged in for diversion or amusement

    • Wikipedia, a structured or semi-structured, contrived recreational activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment. A goal and a set of rules are thus central to its definition.

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What is game?

  • The focus of this class is computer game

    • 21C 패러다임, “컴퓨터에서 흥미를 유발하는 내용물이 어떤 규칙에 의거한 선택과 결정과정을 통해 진행되어 나가도록 컴퓨터 프로그램에 의하여 제작된 것”

      • Not just a PC but any computing device

    • A. Rollings and D. Morris, “A computer game is a software program in which one or more players make decisions through the control of game objects and resources, in pursuit of a goal.”

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Game characteristics

  • Pleasure

  • Rules

  • Competition and conflict

    • Active enemy (Puzzle vs. conflict)

    • Human (Multi-user) or computer

    • Attack to interfere

  • Choice

    • Sid Meier, "A [good] game is a series of interesting choices”

    • One of hardest part in game design

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Game characteristics

  • Interactivity

    • Active user participation

  • Narrative

    • Not just a story

    • the methods by which the story materials are communicated to the audience

    • Pulls the user forward through the experience

  • Goal

    • Game vs. toy

  • Non-linearity

    • Randomness

    • Multi-ending

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Game history

  • Prof. Lee will talk about this topic

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Game taxonomy, genre

  • Simulation game

    • 현실에서 불가능한 체험을 현실감 있게 경험

    • Strategy

      • Starcraft, Warcraft

    • Control

      • Flight simulator

    • 기타

      • SimCity, DDR, secondlife

  • Role playing game (RPG)

    • Dungeons and Dragons (D&D)

    • E.g. MMORPG

    • 캐릭터들은 다양한 특성과 능력이 있으며 게임의 진행을 통해서 성장시키는 시스템 존재 (Level up)

    • 게임의 story, scenario 가 중요 (storyline)

    • 주인공이 다른 사용자나 NPC들과 집단으로 게임 진행 (party)

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Game taxonomy, genre

  • Adventure game

    • 탐험, 수집, 조종, 퍼즐, 전투

    • 1인 캐릭터 중심

    • 네트워크 플레이가 어려움

    • 영화적 연출 기법 가능

    • 게임 시나리오 작가 능력 중요

    • 반복 플레이가 어려움

    • Conversation

      • 초창기, 주인공과 캐릭터간 대화

    • Action

      • Puzzle 요소가 있어야 함

      • E.g. Tomb Raider

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Game taxonomy, genre

  • Action game

    • Most of arcade games

    • Little puzzling factor

    • A sequence of increasingly difficult levels

    • Possibly multiple lives

    • Shooting

      • First person [perspective] shooting (FPS)

    • Fighting game

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Game taxonomy, genre

  • Sports, racing game

    • Often imitates the real world

    • Physics engine for ball or vehicle

    • AI for other player movement

    • Recently, trademark, portrait right issues

      • Even for stadium!

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Game taxonomy, genre

  • Casual game

    • no long-term time commitment or special skills

    • Mass audience, simple rules and gameplay

  • Puzzle game

    • Tetris, hexa, 뿌요뿌요

  • Board game

    • Playing cards, Flower cards, Go

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Game taxonomy, platform

  • Arcade game

  • PC game

  • Console game

    • Typically, connected to TV

    • X-box, Playstation

  • Mobile game

    • Cellular phone

  • Handheld game

    • Gameboy, PSP

  • Online game

    • E.g. Web-game

    • Often, multiple users are connected

      • Game server vs. Peer-to-peer

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Computer game and other relevant CS courses

  • programming

    • Programming language, data structure, algorithm,…

  • AI

  • User interface, human-computer interface

  • Graphics, animation

  • Network (TCP/IP)

  • Natural language processing

  • Distributed system

  • Software engineering

  • Math or physics

  • “Design”

  • “storytelling” or narrative

  • art

Non-CS area

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Principles behind game [design]

  • What do players want?

    • A challenge

    • To socialize

    • To play on their own (sometimes)

    • To win

    • Learning (grow up)

    • New activities (often, possible only in cyberspace)

    • Emotional experience

    • To fantasize

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Principles behind game [design]

  • What do players expect?

    • Consistent game world

    • To understand game world boundaries

    • Reasonable solutions to problems

    • Sense of direction (goals and hints)

    • Accomplish goals incrementally

    • To be immersed in game world

    • To fail

    • Fair chance to win

    • Avoid unnecessary repetition

    • Not to get stuck hopelessly

    • Not to be passive watchers of all action sequences

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Principles behind game [design]

  • game balance

    • Player/Player (Symmetry)

      • Player’s performance is based on skill and a little “luck”

      • A player who makes no mistake should not get stuck

    • Player/Gameplay (Interaction)

      • game learning should also be fun

      • Reward the player

      • Let the machine do the chores

      • Make a game player-friendly (save options should be used at minimum)

        • Player should not feel the game is too hard or too easy

    • Gameplay/Gameplay (Balance: e.g. rock-scissors-paper)

      • dominated and dominant strategy should not exist

      • Every option should be useful at least in certain situations

      • Comparable choices: e.g. enhance either offense or defense

      • The cost of a feature must match the power of acquiring the feature

      • Tradeoff: physical strength vs. magic power

      • Combination: synergy or redundancy

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10 basic rules in [commercial] game design

Concept -> structure -> design

  • Start with a good story and a good concept

  • Write down your design on paper or equivalent

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew

  • Know your target audience e.g. age, gender

  • Come up with a new idea

  • Be flexible follow a rapid prototyping mindset

  • Design for the future

  • Think series or sequels

  • Content is everything

    • Use of graphics and technology

    • Game is fun to play

  • Give the players goals

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Typical game architecture

  • In single user case

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Nokia Top 10Usability Recommendations

  • Provide a clear menu structure

  • Simplicity is key

  • Provide help when needed

  • Be relentlessly consistent

  • Don’t waste the user’s time

    • Allow user to skip introduction

    • Do not require re-entry of data

  • Use natural controls

  • Enable save and pause

  • Conform to real-world expectations

    • Realistic physics model

  • Go easy on sound

    • Use for feedback

    • Allow it to be turned off

    • Make game playable with sound off

  • Implement a high score list

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Tips for term project

  • Do one thing well

    • Intriguing storylines

      • Plot point

    • Great graphics

    • Witty sounds

    • Clever puzzles

    • New game concepts

    • Immersive narratives

    • Fancy AI learning

  • Don’t struggle with multiple levels

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Tips for term project

  • Understand your tools

    • Do one thing well

    • The various tools have strengths & weaknesses

    • Don’t fight the tool

      • Understand what the tool is good for and tailor your project for that tool

    • Also.. Don’t fight your team’s skills

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Tips for term project

  • 1st presentation

    • The game description

      • genre, scenario/storyline, character/maps, etc.

      • A few sketches or mocked-up screens

    • Development Schedule

      • As fine-grained as possible

      • Also state who is responsible for what

    • Assessment

      • What will be cool about your game

Everything can be changed during the project,

even with great game designers!

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Tips for 1st presentation

  • Getting a creative idea

    • Go to an extreme along one dimension of a game

    • Mix ideas from several games

    • Use ideas from books, movies, comics, etc.

    • Take a good game idea and make it better (e.g. improve graphics, AI, etc.)

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Tips for 1st presentation

  • brainstorming

    • Make sure everyone attends meeting and is involved

    • Ensure free interchange of ideas

    • Make goals clear

    • Stay focused – don’t allow distractions

    • Make sure everyone is heard

    • Take notes

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Tips for 1st presentation

  • Brainstorming a game

    • You can start with game play

      • This often dictates player interaction and style of play

      • Determines hardware needed

      • Total resources needed for game

    • You can start with story

      • In some genre (e.g. RPG), a story is central

      • May determine how players and NPC’s interact

      • Technology should match story line

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Tips for 1st presentation

  • Achieving Goals

    • Always something for players to achieve

    • Make sure goals are not too easy or too hard

    • Three levels of goals

      • Long term (e.g. complete game)

      • Medium term (10-30 minutes)

      • Short term (0-60 seconds)

  • Common game goals

    • Eliminate other players

    • Score points (e.g. sports games)

    • Get some place first (e.g. racing games)

    • Solve puzzles

    • Gain territory (e.g. strategy games)

    • Improve abilities (e.g. role playing)

    • Develop social relationships (e.g. multiplayer games)

    • Play god (e.g. simulations)

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Tips for 1st presentation

  • Choices and outcomes

    • Choice

      • A question asked of the player

    • Outcome

      • The end result of a given choice

    • Possibility space

      • Represents the set of possible events

      • A “landscape” of choice and outcome

  • Well-designed choices

    • Often desirable and undesirable effects

    • Should relate to player goals

    • Balanced against neighboring choices

      • Too much weight to every choice is melodrama

    • Orthogonal choices – distinct from others

      • Not just “shades of grey”

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Brainstorming example

  • Resource dynamics

    • Interest rate? Inflation?

  • New characters

    • animals, babies, kids, women,…

    • Self-growing units over time

    • Unit integration

    • unit trade

  • Realities

    • Physics

      • Air units can collide. KAMIKAZE!

    • Military engineer for constructions

    • Logistics

    • Prisoners of War (POW)

  • Interaction with real world

    • E.g. send help messages to cellular phone

    • May hinder game immersion

  • Hints from other domain

    • Movies, novels, history,…

Check consistency!

Be a Dreamer!